The Essential 3-Day Weekend Beach Packing List

Getting ready for a long weekend at the beach? I’ve got just the thing to make packing for your beach vacation a breeze. There’s no need to stress, just get out your suitcase, read through this list, and complete the job in less than 15 minutes. See, aren’t you relaxed already?

The nice thing about packing for a beach getaway is that you really don’t need to pack too much. No heavy coats, no bulky boots, just light and bright. So take that 15 minutes and pack these 15 items and you’ll be on your way in no time.

Pack Light and Pack Bright

Two rules to follow when packing for a 3-day beach vacation are to pack light and pack bright.

When it comes to packing light, this list of 15 essentials (excluding your beauty products and undergarments) will get you through all but the fanciest of social situations, from brunch to beach and shopping to a night on the town. The list is universal to any beach destination, should be easy to find in your closet, and will fit into a small travel bag. No need to lug around your 25” rolling suitcase.

In addition to being easy and lightweight, think bright when it comes to color. Sunshine is the perfect complement to vibrant colors, whether it is fuschia, lime green, or hot pink. Florals, polka dots, and stripes are great choices for beachy locales. Leave the somber clothing at home for another time. Go big, go bold, go bright!

A Universal Beach Packing List

This beach packing list is somewhat broad in terms of clothing. I want to identify specific items that you should pack, such as a swimsuit. But I don’t want to dictate that it be a bikini or a tankini. You know your style and what looks good on you. Be true to yourself, wear what makes you comfortable, and enjoy the sunshine and ocean waves.

I’ve also painted a broader picture because I don’t want you to think you have to go out and buy a light blue printed chiffon maxi dress for your 3-day beach getaway. The point is that you should have that maxi dress in your bag, whether it is solid, striped or print, yellow or purple, halter or tank style. Use your judgment and your sense of style for each garment.

I have, however, provided images of what I have packed for just this occasion to give you a point of reference, and to encourage you to go bright and light. (And don’t forget those accessories!) Not only do these images provide inspiration, they’ll get you in the mood for that beach vacation, the sun, the salt air, and the fun you are about to have.

So here it is, get ready to start packing!

The Essential 3-Day Weekend Beach Packing List

The Essential 15 Item Beach Day Packing List

  1. Maxi Dress
  2. Sandals
  3. Swim Suit
  4. Wedges
  5. Sun Hat
  6. Shorts
  7. Dinner Dress
  8. Denim Jacket or Light Cardigan
  9. Beach Tote
  10. Beach Towel
  11. Couple of short-Sleeved t-shirts
  12. White Jeans
  13. Sunglasses
  14. Light Scarf
  15. Bright accessories

You can also find some great inspiration and examples of each item by checking out my summer resource on “150+ Cute Summer Outfits.”

Versatility Is Key

Now that you’ve seen my essential beach packing list, you may have noticed a common thread; almost every item is versatile and can be paired different ways.

That maxi dress can be worn as a beach cover-up over your bathing suit, paired with sandals for brunch or shopping, or you can up the drama factor with the wedges and a scarf for a nice dinner.

Your sandals can be worn with the bathing suit, shorts, maxi or white jeans, while the wedges will also work with all four of those!

Wear the shorts with a t-shirt and the denim jacket for a bike ride along the beach or pair them with the bathing suit and a sun hat for lounging by the ocean.

If you stick with several base neutrals—white jeans, khaki or navy shorts, denim jacket or white cardigan—you don’t have to pack a basic white tee (although you can!). Try a nautical blue-and-white stripe or bright turquoise for something different and fun.

Get daring with the maxi dress and find a big bold floral or ikat print. Have some fun with your sandals—beaded, fringed, or embellished with stones will add some panache and still pair well with everything you have brought. Remember, light and bright! And stylish too!

Points to Keep in Mind When Creating Your Beach Weekend Packing List

I do want to provide you with a few points when it comes to these 15 items for your beach vacation.

Don’t pack anything too dressy because chances are you won’t wear it. There is just no sense in lugging around clothes you don’t need, particularly for a short trip.

For the dinner dress consider something that’s brightly patterned and would work for cocktails on the beach or a fancy beachside dinner. (Because a girl’s got to splurge a bit while on vacation!) In the collage above I have two options; one dress that is brightly patterned in a variety of colors {find it here} and one dress with a lively pattern in shades of blue {find it here}.

For jewelry, pack at most two bright necklaces that match all of your outfits. Again, nothing too fancy, the jewelry should coordinate with the clothes.

A sun hat, scarf, and sunglasses are a must! Don’t forget these as are a stylish form of sun protection. And don’t be afraid of color here either. If your wardrobe is primarily blue, try a red hat or sunglasses.

A cardigan or denim jacket is great in the evening or morning when it’s slightly cooler. Layer it over your outfits when necessary and make sure the color is a neutral so it matches all of your possible outfit combinations.

I hope this beach packing list serves as your starting off point. Of course depending on your specific activities and destination you can add or remove items.

This is what I’m going to be taking with me on my upcoming 3-day weekend beach getaway! Those 3 gorgeous dresses are from Donna Morgan and you’ll them in outfit posts too!

Stay Stylish,


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3 thoughts on “The Essential 3-Day Weekend Beach Packing List

  • default avatar

    Good tips. Bring all of that in a mesh bag though, so you don’t have to worry about sand. Dealing with sand after the beach is probably my least favorite thing ever, so I recommend baby powder now (it pulls up the moisture and the sand falls right off). There were some other neat tips picked up from this article you guys might be interested in too:

  • default avatar
    Beach Day Style Me Girl | Advance Game

    […] The Essential 3-Day Weekend Beach Packing List – The Essential 15 Item Beach Packing List . Maxi Dress; Sandals; Swim Suit; Wedges; Sun Hat; Shorts; Dinner Dress; Denim Jacket or Light Cardigan; Beach Tote; Beach … […]

  • default avatar

    […] I headed to the beach last weekend I was very prepared. I had already planned my Essential 3-Day Weekend Beach Packing List the week before. Planning a packing list is the first step in answering the question what to wear […]